San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
National Parks

Health Ministry orders improvements at Manuel Antonio National Park

This year, Valentine’s Day is also the deadline that the Health Ministry set for administrators of Manuel Antonio National Park to conduct a series of infrastructure improvements.

Among other requirements for the deadline, the ministry ordered the immediate repair of public toilets that the park recently closed due to problems with the sewers. As a temporary solution, the administration placed portable toilets at the park.

Messages on social media saying the ministry would close the park prompted official responses from both the Health and the Environment Ministries.

The Health Ministry denied ordering the closure of the park. Officials did ask park administrators to perform repairs,  particularly in the toilets’ drainage system, as well as to the tourist trails and the drinking water supply system, and to make improvements to its emergency plan, said the written statement from the ministry.

The ministry issued the Feb. 14 deadline to evaluate results and will consider further actions depending on results of those evaluations, the response said.

Meanwhile, the Environment Ministry (MINAE) has said it is already working on improvements in various areas of the park. Officials noted that the park is operating as usual, and said they will present the Health Ministry with a full report of all infrastructure works that have been completed since last year.

Among others, MINAE said their staff currently are working on repairs to the wastewater and the drinking water systems.

“Works are moving forward as expected with the construction of new trails that meet accessibility standards,” the statement says, adding that the park is currently updating its emergency plan for visitors.

Manuel Antonio is the most popular tourist destination in the country. According to data from MINAE’s National System of Conservation Areas, it was the most visited national park in Costa Rica in 2015, with 418,041 visitors. More than half of them —292,125— were foreign tourists.

The park’s visitation figure was higher than the 370,176 tourists recorded at Poás Volcano National Park, and the 195,362 visitors at Irazú Volcano National Park.

Forbes magazine included Manuel Antonio among the 12 world’s most beautiful national parks.

Recommended: Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s top destination, and there are good reasons why

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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